Kill it, cook it, eat it

okkkkaaaay.  Just watched Kill it, cook it, eat it.

A very good and thought-provoking programme.  A bit melodramatic and lots of warnings over and over that they were going to show you several baby animals being killed ‘live’ in the quaint “please don’t sue us” BBC way.

The premise of the programme is that they film it at an abattoir which has been given a big glass wall for an invited studio audience to sit and pontificate about the poor little animals that are going to be brought in and killed before them.  Then, the carcasses are butchered and a selection is cooked in the studio.  There was a whiff of the “ooh look at us, we’re really going to gross you out now, aren’t we clever” from the Beeb.

Much hand-wringing and cooing and clucking over the baby goats and their death.

Sorry, if you eat meat, this should be compulsory from the age of 7 to have watched it.  I’ve caught fish, killed it, gutted and cooked it and eaten.  I’ve had rabbits, whole, freshly shot (and had pet rabbits, but didn’t eat them).  I’ve eaten camel, goat (had a pet goat too), horse, eel, live oysters (regularly, almost every week in fact), snake, crocodile, ostrich, pigeon, and kangaroo.  I think I can be safely described as a carnivore.  In fact there are very few foods I don’t eat.  I wouldn’t eat dog or cat but this is mainly on the basis that the animal husbandry and their slaughter is generally inhumane.  I have been offered and declined various types of insects although I do eat Éscargot (snails).

So, crying studio audience, what did you think happened to the sheep, cows and pigs you eat you muppets?  Shame on you for eating meat and pretending it got there by magic.  The animals had lives and a death, we should never forget that or we allow the possibility of cruelty and things like battery farming to persist.

Am I wrong?


The onions make me cry

Rejoice; the government are going to make cooking lessons compulsory:



My sister (whom I love to bits) could burn water.  This is despite living an almost uninterrupted  childhood with my mother who makes cakes, pies and could cook for England.  I, however, cook daily, from scratch, a vast array of things of all types – and I have a full time job and I work for myself in the time I’m not working for The Man or emailing far off muses and dreaming of a better life or hand-in-hand walks on a beach.  It may be that she knows how to cook but chooses not to but, to be honest, I think it’s the former rather than the latter.  Cooking is not *that* hard.  In fact it’s a basic human instinct: food gathering and preparation.  Is it perhaps that we have evolved society to such an extent now that we are de-evolving skills like telling the difference between crap food sources and nutritious yummy bits?

My sister is not alone.  More and more people seem to say: “oh I can’t cook to save my life”.  My Lady boss is totally unable to cook anything at all.  My male boss (her husband) chooses not to cook and therefore their three children and themselves eat a constant diet of take-away food full of saturated fat, MSG, salt and twenty kinds of chemical you would not dab onto a grazed knee.  No – really – that is their diet – daily.

I’m not claiming to be a hero (ok, a bit) but I try to buy my veg from the local farmer’s market, preferably organic but at the very least au natural.  Not shrink-wrapped.  Not pre-packed.  Not “in syrup”.  I’m not a total purist, life is for living, but you know, veg *does* taste better when it’s not travelled3000 miles and sat in plastic for two weeks before being cook-chilled.  I know it happens, our most common type of customer is in the food preparation industry – I’m off to a pig farm today up North.  I dare you to go to one of these factories and look at the production line, as I do, and see 10,000 quiches a week being made on a conveyor belt with a man-robot-slave-drone dropping handfuls of red-peppers according to a traffic-light system and then squirting the quiche mixture from a hose attached to a massive silo of the quiche mix (pre-made and brought in by one of the those shiny tanker lorries that you thought was bringing petrol when you drove behind it on the motorway and kept your distance but then noticed it said “non-hazardous food product” and sighed with relief knowing you would not burn to toasty brown in a flash frying crash).

Not that I’m trying to put you off.  No.  Quiche is nice.  Real men eat quiche.  Bloggers eat quiche.

Anyhoo, I’m off to get ready for the visit to the pig farm.  I’m swapping over their hand-scanner today to ensure uninterrupted surveillance of  the worker-drones.  Now, where’s my wellies?


On Monday I had to fire someone.  To be honest, he really deserved it and had put us in a position where anything else would have been wrong.  However, the whole process was very much like an execution.  Our employment laws give very little room for maneuver and, as I read from a prepared statement telling him the charges against him and the verdict of the kangaroo court I looked him straight in the eyes.  At the end he was given an opportunity for a few final words in his last moments.  Then he was gone and we all began to speak of him in the past tense.

It’s when I have to do things like that I think another part of my humanity gets chipped away.  It needed doing and was the right course of action.

Doesn’t make it a good thing though, does it…

Line up line up

I’ve just had a weekend that seemed to last for three weeks.  This is a good thing.

Apart  from my actual diet (where I’ve so far lost nearly half a stone- woo hoo!) I’ve also voluntarily put myself on a bit of a television diet.  This is because a) TV seems to have descended into the bowels of hell and is only showing drivel of the poorest quality and b) I end up watching the drivel and not doing anything constructive – at all (like ironing my shirts, doing my work, etc etc).

Why is it so much easier to watch a repeat of “Have I got News for You?” than actually DO anything?  Now the damn BBC have released their iPlayer it’s another temptation to avoid, avidly.

I’ve spent the weekend, in the absence of female company (see my blog en passim), programming and web-designing.  Oh and uploaded three new poems – but they’re a bit dark and weird coz I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I’ve been randomly chatted up by a nameless fellow blogger (I think she was bored) and eaten some excellently healthy food in the last week.  Tomorrow is a fraught day at work but I can’t discuss it until about midday when it’s all taken place.  Oh, and I made some bread this weekend, the first I’ve made in aaaaages.

During random conversations over t’internet it’s come to my attention that I eat quite a lot of garlic.  This is all very well and apparently very good for you but now I’m paranoid that I stink of it all day.  I’m going to ask someone I trust at work tomorrow to check.  🙂

I also rediscovered chestnuts this week.  The sweet ones you can buy hot from a brazier and not the horsey ones you play conkers with at school (after using black magic and hardening spells from Dumbledore to ensure success in conker fights).

Despite my sister-in-law attempting, quite rightly, to convince me that I will end up a kidney and liver donor (they will be so cross if they get mine, I think I’ve broken it, badly) – with or without the planned opt-out scheme – I’ve decided that if I do nothing else this year I will get my full bike licence and finally get my touring motorbike with chunky panniers and tent so I can head off to the hills when the mood takes me.  The mood takes me quite a lot.

Right, what shall I do now…

How to make proper English tea for me

For the benefit of Lisa* who, being American, believes tea can be cold and drinkable (wrong) or made from fruit (perverse, and wrong):

No, more like this (with the teabag removed, obviously)  🙂

To do it properly (especially if you work with me):

  1. Empty kettle of all water.
  2. Fill kettle half way with fresh tap water.  Not bottled or mineral or anything daft like that.
  3. Put kettle on to boil.
  4. Put small amount of milk in a mug.  About 3 mm i.e. 1/16 of your imperial inches  😉  Semi-skimmed or similar – NOT UHT or other yucky fake milk! Put ONE tetley tea bag into the milk and leave there whilst we wait for the kettle
  5. As soon as kettle boils pour the boiling water into the mug from about 6 inches height, over the teabag until the mug is full.
  6. Remove the teabag from the mug, squeezing it out into the mug as you do it once it looks the colour of the photo.
  7. Drink when temperature has dropped below “ouch that took the skin off my lips”.

Don’t put lemon in it.

Don’t put ice in it – ever.

If it goes cold – throw it away and make another one.

If it’s not brown, like wood, you’ve made it wrong.

Most of us British have our own preference for teabags, tea leaves and method.  There are likely to be several comments on this blog from fellow British bloggers with their own withering replies on how a “proper cup of tea” should be made.  Many, for example, believe it a cardinal sin to “put the milk in first” which is the subject of much debate and scandal amongst colleagues.  My BIL, for example, says that even to wash out his teapot should be punishable by torture followed by a merciless death and that teabags “contain the sweepings from the hull of a ship” (not true, honest).  Earl Grey is what you get when you accidentally spray perfume near a decent cup of tea – don’t do it.

Oh, and we don’t call our hot drinks by boy’s names such as Joe, Sam, Benny or Frank and no-one outside of 1930’s East-end London calls tea “a cup of char” any more.

Now, Lisa, go off and make me a cup of tea please love – I’m parched.  😉

*Side note: When I first wrote this post Lisa and I had become “blogging buddies”.  Now, two years on we’re married.  How lovely is that? 😀

Health warning

Do not eat wheat cracker thingies covered in aoli without concentrating properly or you might drop the aoli-smothered bikkies on your work trousers (aoli side down, of course) and then you’d look silly.

Not that this has happened to me recently. No.